The U.S. X-Plane Program included the first-of-its-kind research in aerodynamics and astronautics with experimental vehicles, including the first aircraft to break the sound barrier; the first aircraft to fly in excess of 100,000, then 200,000, and then 300,000 feet; and the first aircraft to fly at three, four, five, and then six times the speed of sound. During the 1990s, NASA started developing a new thermal protection material to test on the X-33 and X-34 supersonic aircraft. The X-33 was intended to demonstrate the technologies needed for a new reusable launch vehicle and was projected to reach an altitude of approximately 50 miles and speeds of more than Mach 11. The X-34, a small, reusable technology demonstrator for a launch vehicle, was intended to reach an altitude of 250,000 feet and fly at speeds of Mach 8. As a result of its research and development efforts, NASA s Ames Research Center invented the Protective Ceramic Coating Material (PCCM). Applied to a surface, the thin, lightweight coating could protect the material underneath from extreme temperatures. The capability of the technology came from its emissivity, which radiated heat away from the surface it covered, thereby decreasing the amount of heat transferred to the underlying material. PCCM not only increased the capability of materials to withstand higher temperatures, it also exhibited impressive thermal shock, vibration, and acoustic performance. In addition, it proved to be resistant to abrasion and mechanical damage and was also environmentally safe, due to it being water-based and containing no solvents. Even though funding for the X-33 and X-34 ended in 2001, PCCM continued on a path of innovation.